With both my sons estranged from me, and my husband having run off with a woman 15 years younger than him, it’s safe to say I was feeling pretty lonely. I was in the same routine every single day. I would wake up, have a coffee, talk to my cat and read the paper that was so lovingly pegged at my door. Next I would walk down to the shops to get my daily dose of conversation from whoever would listen. Is it raining? Even better: I loved chatting about the weather. Then off I’d go with whatever I pretended I needed and went back home to have a nap and then read a book or people watch my neighbours. Laying in bed I would play games on my iPad or surf the internet.
That was my life for 12 years. I did not go on holidays – I barely changed my appearance at all. Then one day, after a long phone conversation (fight) with my son, something clicked. He said I was a loser and would die alone. I know… so harsh and upsetting. But he was right about the dying alone part! If I couldn’t heal the rifts between my two sons and myself, then maybe I could find some friends.
I didn’t have anyone to talk to other than my cat or the TV. It sounds so sad when I look back now but it was reality for me and I bet so many others. I desperately wanted friends but had no way, I thought, of finding them. I live 20km from the city so by no means am I isolated, but that’s how I felt. I may as well have been in Antarctica or the moon.
So one day I just went outside with my intentions of finding a new friend. I went to my local cafe and Google searched every meet up thing I could think of. I looked for over 60 meetups, pet meetups – you name it. I looked at bulletin boards and really felt motivated. I even signed up for a pilates class in the hope I’d meet some people there.
Then I just had to commit. And let me tell you… it is easier said than done. When I was getting ready for my first meet up at the cinemas with some ladies in their 50s and 60s, I had what can only be described as a full on panic attack. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my heart was racing. I was sweating like I’d just run for 3km but I’d simply gone to find the car keys.
I had no idea what was in store for me. Years of rejection had taught me to be very reserved and afraid to get close to someone. To my absolute relief, the ladies I met that evening were incredible welcoming and inviting. Instead of being standoffish and nasty, they were more than accommodating and everyone clearly was open to finding new friends. Even after the movie we went to dinner and had a great chat. I loved the feeling of being out at a restaurant and being that group everyone wishes they were a part of.
Now it’s been six months since I started meeting up with new people and I’ve got three girlfriends I see regularly. I really would encourage anyone who wants to find friends to just do it. Bite the bullet and you’ll surprise yourself.